First Famous Patriot and Freedom Fighter
Rosli bin Dhoby was born in Sibu in 1932 and was a student teacher, as well as an active member of the Sibu-based Malay Youth Movement (Gerakan Pemuda Melayu). At the age of 17, Rosli made history as he joined Rukun 13 to assassinate Duncan Stewart, the second Colonial Governor of Sarawak on 3 December 1949.
Being an idealistic young man, Rosli resented the British colonial rule. He was hanged on 2 March 1950. On 2 March 1996, his remains were exhumed after 46 years, from the Kuching Central Prison and reburied at his birthplace in Sibu. He was proclaimed a martyr.
In order to honour his patriotic spirit, a secondary school along Sibu’s New Airport Road was named after the hero. On 27 July 1993, the Sarawak State Government officially honoured Rosli as one of the Heroes of Sarawak.
First Famous Iban Hero
The most well-known Iban hero to wage war against the White Rajah’s rule was Rentap, which means “one who makes the world shake” in the Iban language. He was born sometime in 1800 and lived most of his life in Ulu Skrang/Saribas river areas.
Rentap and his men took part in many battles including the famous Battle of Beting Maru on 31 July 1849 against Rajah Brooke’s force. Two Sadok expeditions against Rentap by the Brooke authority were unsuccessful, but the third attempt carried out on 16 October 1861 managed to break through Rentap’s stronghold. Better equipment was used, including a rocket-firer, a 12-pounder gun “Bujang Sadok” and a 6-pound gun together with Chinese workers, Negro troops and many Dayak as well as Malay forces.
Rentap and his force retreated to Bukit Lanjak and then moved down to Entabai, Kanowit. Although his power might have been broken, Rentap did not surrender. He died of old age in 1870, and was honourably laid to rest in a mortuary known as “Lumbong” and his remains were kept in a jar.
As a token of Rentap’s fight for freedom and independence from the Brooke’s regime, the State Government of Sarawak installed a new memorial tomb for him at Bukit Sibau, Pakan on 28 October 1989. On 27 July 1993, he was officially declared as one of the Heroes of Sarawak.
First Famous Bidayuh Hero
Orang Kaya Pemanca Panglima Kulow was born at Bung Bratak, a hill settlement above the present Kampung Tembawang Sauh, Bau towards the end of the 18th century. He was a brave and wise Panglima (Bidayuh warrior), who had the welfare of the people at heart.
On 5 January 1838, his village, Bung Bratak, was attacked and ravaged to the ground by hostile predators from Skrang. In November 1841, he saved the Sauh women and children from the Skrang predators, with the assistance from Sir James Brooke. He rebuilt their longhouses and baruks, until his people were prosperous and the number of families increased. A section of Orang Kaya Pemanca Panglima Kulow’s family moved to Gunung Orat and another group went to Balung Tonggang (Kampung Stenggang).
Orang Kaya Pemanca Panglima Kulow passed away sometime in the 1860’s due to old age.
(To be continued)